If you’re wondering if you can put foil in an air fryer, the short answer is yes. These tips and tricks will give you the best results—crispy, delicious food and minimal cleanup. There are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind, but once you’ve got them down, you’ll be cooking the safe way in no time!

A basket of aluminum foil holding sweet potatoes in an air fryer.

Using foil or even parchment paper in your air fryer isn’t completely necessary. Your bare basket or tray is designed to not interfere with the cooking process.

However, there are some instances where it’s beneficial to use a layer of foil or parchment paper. To do it safely, you’ll want to follow a few key guidelines.

Is it safe to put aluminum foil in an air fryer?

Yes, it is safe to put aluminum foil at the bottom of the basket. Generally, anything you put in your oven, you can also put in your air fryer. It’s a good idea to double check your air fryer manual because it can depend on the model and type.

Don’t confuse an air fryer with a microwave when it comes to aluminum foil’s safety issues. Since the air fryer circulates hot air rather than using electromagnetic radiation, you are safe to use this easy clean-up kitchen material.

To secure tin foil, make sure it is weighed down by and molded to the food. This will prevent it from flying up into the fan, which is close to the heating coils. Loose foil is no good for coil!

Crinkled tin foil molded into a square with the edges folded up.

Place Foil in the Basket Only

The golden rule of using foil in your air fryer is to place it in the bottom of the basket. If you place it elsewhere, like over the food, the hot air will dislodge it and blow it around. This could potentially start a fire if it lands on and covers the heating element. To prevent this, do not preheat your air fryer with tin foil in it.

Additionally, misplacing foil will alter the air circulation and cooking time of your food. Never completely block the holes at the bottom of the basket.

Avoid Acidic Foods

Acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits should not be air fried with foil. Foods with a high acid content can cause a chemical reaction that breaks down the aluminum and releases toxins in your food. This does not mean that you can’t air fry acidic foods, but use parchment paper instead of foil.

Tin foil folded upwards like handles in an air fryer basket.
Add handles like this to use as handles.

Tips for Using Foil in an Air Fryer

To use foil in your air fryer safely and effectively, follow these tips:

  • Crumble the foil. Because foil is so thick, crumbling it up will give it more volume and bring your food closer to the heating element. Proximity to the coils creates a crispy crust on foods like steaks, breaded chicken, and any kind of vegetable.
  • Don’t cover holes. In order to allow the air fryer to effectively do what it’s made for, don’t cover the small holes at the bottom of your basket. This part of your appliance is critical to circulating hot air around the entire piece of food. Covering the basket’s bottom holes defeats the purpose of your air fryer and will result in uneven cooking.
  • Create a foil sling. A great way to reduce the risk of burns is to fold one or two long pieces of foil in half to create narrow strips. This creates a set of handles. You can then tuck them in during cooking. When the food is finished, untuck those handles to pull the food out. This trick eliminates the need for oven mitts!

Aluminum Foil vs. Parchment Paper

While foil works great in the air fryer, it’s not always the best option. It can provide evenly cooked food, and keep your food warm once you take it out of the air fryer. And while it can keep your spices and juices locked in, tin foil is reactive which can give your food a metallic taste.

Parchment paper can be a better way to go. It is not reactive because it has a silicone coating, making it heat resistant and less likely to stick to your cooking food. Parchment paper can also be a good choice because it can protect your air fryer from food splatter.

For more information about parchment paper in the air fryer, check out this post.

More Air Fryer Resources

New to this cooking method? Check out this post that teaches you how to use an air fryer. If you’re on the fence about buying one, read this post that answers if air fryers are healthy. Concerned about how to clean an air fryer, check out this post—it’ll boost your confidence. The last thing you want is to be underprepared with this convenient appliance!

A spatula is used to remove the salmon from the air fryer.

Healthy Air Fryer Recipes

There are easy air fryer recipes for all types of food. Getting started with one or two will really help you get the hang of this new kitchen tool. You’ll find yourself making your favorite foods in no time!

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Comments

  1. I’ve read research that cooking food with aluminum foil can cause the aluminum to leach into the food. You might want to double check whether using foil is safe at all!

    1. There is some cause for concern, so use it at your own risk, or avoid it entirely. Thanks for your feedback.